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Scientists hold sign calling for a climate revolution

Scientists hold a sign reading, "Climate Revolution Or We Will Lose Everything" at a rally. This week, scientists around the world will occupy universities to demand a "Climate Revolution" following the release of the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (Photo: Twitter/@ScientistRebel1)

'Climate Revolution': Scientists Launch Global Civil Disobedience Campaign

"Scientist Rebellion will be on the streets between April 4th and 9th, acting like our house is on fire," said organizers. "Because it is."

Julia Conley

Scientists from around the world on Monday mobilized to demand a "Climate Revolution," holding rallies and staging acts of civil disobedience with the goal of making the planetary emergency "impossible to ignore."

With a kick-off timed to coincide with Monday's release of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), researchers across the globe this week will participate in the Scientist Rebellion, staging strikes and occupations at universities, research institutes, and scientific journals to demand that the community speak out forcefully against continued fossil fuel emissions to highlight "the urgency and injustice of the climate and ecological crisis."

"In short, there's no worthy reason for me to be doing this work if I'm not also pushing for climate action."

"We have not made the changes necessary to limit warming to 1.5°C, rendering this goal effectively impossible," said Dr. Rose Abramoff, an American climate scientist, referring to the goal set by the Paris climate agreement in 2015. "We need to both understand the consequences of our inaction as well as limit fossil fuel emissions as much and as quickly as possible."

For scientists, Abramoff added, "it is no longer sufficient to do our research and expect others to read our publications and understand the severity and urgency of the climate crisis."

One neuroscientist named Jonathan posted a video on social media explaining why he is taking part in the Scientist Rebellion.

"With our civilization poised to crumble under the weight of climate disaster in a matter of decades, the incremental advance of understanding is pointless," he said. "In short, there's no worthy reason for me to be doing this work if I'm not also pushing for climate action."

The Scientist Rebellion is poised to be the largest-ever civil disobedience campaign led by scientists, with experts risking arrest in at least 25 countries on every continent in the world.

In Germany, scientists displayed over 100 posters demanding a climate revolution "after over 100 days of criminal failure" by the government "to act in line with scientific guidance on the climate crisis."

Climate Action Tracker has rated Germany's climate policies, including a scheduled phase-out of coal by 2038 and a net zero emissions target of 2045, as "insufficient" for limiting global heating to 1.5°C over pre-industrial levels.

Scientists in Spain on Monday occupied the campus of the University of Granada, calling for the institution to include "a compulsory module in all its degrees, dedicated to the climate energy and resource crisis, the collapse of ecosystems, and the interrelated systemic impact of these crises."

"Scientists are particularly powerful messengers, and we have a responsibility to show leadership," Charlie Gardner, a conservation scientist at the University of Kent, told Agence France-Presse. "We are failing in that responsibility. If we say it's an emergency, we have to act like it is."

More than 1,000 scientists are expected to participate in "high levels of disobedience" following the release of the IPCC's latest report, which the U.S. and other wealthy countries have attempted to water down in what Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) called "a desperate bid to evade responsibility."

"The prospects are ecocide, plus genocide, and require a strong social reaction. We are hundreds of scientists calling on our colleagues across disciplines to join us in the streets."

Wealthy countries have fought to "erase references to key concepts like loss and damage and to water down references to the scale of finance needed for adaptation," FOEI said, even after the latest report by the IPCC warned that by burning fossil fuels, humans are producing "unprecedented" global heating and putting biodiverse ecosystems and frontline communities at risk—with life-threatening droughts and other effects hitting countries which have done little to cause the crisis.

"We are experiencing an absolutely exceptional historical situation, in terms not only of the history of our universities, our cities, or our countries, but of the history of the human species and planet Earth writ large," said Prof. Jorge Riechmann, a social scientist from Spain.

"The prospects are ecocide, plus genocide, and require a strong social reaction," he continued. "We are hundreds of scientists calling on our colleagues across disciplines to join us in the streets, to live up to the truth of the words we write: that if we do not act now, not only is total catastrophe certain; but it would occur in the most unjust way possible, where those who have done the least to cause the problem are those who suffer most from it. I feel a moral obligation to prevent this from happening."

A lack of direct action among scientists and climate experts, said one Scientist Rebellion participant, is akin to knowing that a house is about to burn down but taking no action to convince people in the building to get out of harm's way.

"Imagine two people are sitting in a house," said Mike Lynch-White, a former Theoretical Physics PhD candidate who is now a full-time climate campaigner. "One turns to the other and calmly states that the house is on fire and the roof is about to collapse and kill them both, before going back to their morning newspaper. It would be completely unreasonable for the other to believe the threat, no matter how real it is."

"Scientist Rebellion will be on the streets between April 4th and 9th, acting like our house is on fire," said organizers. "Because it is."

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